June 9

Swollen Nose Causes Symptoms and Treatment


While big, red noses on clowns may look funny, having a swollen nose is no laughing matter. Whether you’re dealing with a nose that is visually inflamed on the outside or one that is swollen internally, you’ll want to deal with it sooner rather than later to keep your symptoms from getting worse.


swollen nose
swollen nose










There can be a lot of causes for a swollen nose, ranging from environmental factors to illnesses and trauma. We will discuss below some of the most common locations for nose swelling and their probable causes:

Sinus Issues and How to Get Sinus Relief

The sinuses are hollow cavities that are in the face, above and below the nose. Generally, the sinuses are relatively clear. However, things like pollen, dust, viruses, and bacteria can cause them to become blocked or clogged, resulting in the buildup of fluids and mucus.

When this occurs, you’ll feel pain, swelling, congestion, and pressure in your face. If you won’t treat this condition for long enough, you may develop a sinus infection.

nose sinuses
nose sinuses

Sinuses infection is generally not dangerous, but they will certainly make you feel pretty bad. The most common symptoms of this condition include pain and pressure behind the eyes and nose, swelling of the face, congestion, fever, sore throat and a runny nose — many of the same symptoms that occur with the common cold or the flu.

 Signs and symptoms of a sinus infection:


Finding sinus relief will depend on the type of infection you are dealing with. If a virus has caused the infection, for instance, you can take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that will help alleviate your symptoms. Your body will do the rest to clear out the infection.


On the other hand, if your sinus infection is caused by bacteria your best chance at relief is to see your doctor for a prescription of an antibiotic. You can also take over-the-counter medicines to help ease the symptoms, but make sure you complete the course of your round of antibiotics even if you start feeling better before the medicine runs out.

Allergy or Sinus Infection?

While sinus infections are generally one-off conditions with a definite beginning and end, an allergy attack can be nothing but constant struggle. Allergy responses and allergy rash will look very similar to a sinus infection or the common cold, although the cause of infection is completely different.

When you’re suffering from allergies what you’re actually experiencing is an allergic reaction to some environmental condition. The most common causes of aggravated allergies are pollen, dust, and dander.

Allergies generally do not cause a swollen nose. However, the constant blowing or rubbing of your nose can cause exterior swelling. You may also experience swelling on the inside that makes you feel as if you are trying to breathe through a straw.

There are several ways to treat allergies and alleviate your symptoms. The most effective — while not usually the easiest — is to either remove the allergen from your area or remove yourself from the area of the allergen. If your allergies are caused by pet dander, you can reduce your symptoms by removing pets from your space or avoiding areas where you might find animals, such as the park, a pet store or the homes of pet owners. On the other hand, if your allergies are comes by pollen, staying indoors and vacuuming regularly can help.

As most people are unable to separate themselves from what triggers their allergy, the next thing to try is medication. The most common over-the-counter drug for the treatment of allergies is an antihistamine. As allergy symptoms arise when your body releases histamines in response to contact with your allergen, antihistamines work by blocking the release of these chemicals.


Suffering Through the Common Cold

The common cold is an infection in the area known as the upper respiratory tract, which includes both throat and nose. Colds are contagious, and most people will see symptoms within two or three days of exposure. As the infection affects the upper respiratory tract, typical ailments include a sore throat, coughing, runny nose, swollen nose, and sneezing. You may also experience chills, fever and sore muscles.

While the common cold can make you feel absolutely miserable, it’s generally not dangerous. For most people, colds clear up in one to two weeks, though some symptoms, such as coughing or a runny nose, can last for up to a month.

The best treatment for a cold is rest. You can alleviate symptoms with an over-the-counter medicine. You also need to stay home and take time off from work or school. If you’re the type of person who finds it difficult to just sit and relax, consider purchasing a night time OTC; it contains an ingredient that will help you sleep.

Swollen Nose Tip or Nose Swelling on One Side

A nose that is swollen at its tip or on its side will usually display redness and tenderness, and the area will appear noticeably larger than normal. Generally, pimples, trauma, infection or Rhinophyma causes swelling.

Pimples can also result from pores that become clogged and infected. While most of these symptoms resolve on their own in just a few days, it can be worse by constant poking and prodding. Touching the nose or squeezing the pimple, for example, can lead to further clogging or the spreading of the infection. Pimples can form anywhere on the body where there are pores, including the face and nose.

Swollen nose tip

If your swollen nose tip is accompanied by a bump or a pustule, you’re probably suffering from a pimple. If you wear glasses, which can help trap oil and bacteria, you may experience a pimple on the bridge of your nose. No matter where the blemish may occur, the best way to treat this condition is to leave it on its own.

Another reason you might suffer from a swollen nose tip or nose swelling on one side is some kind of injury. It could be as simple as an accidental scratch while blowing your nose or as traumatic as getting hit in the face with a ball. In those cases where the skin’s surface is broken, the body’s natural healing process can be responsible for some swelling as white skin cells rush to the area. Sometimes, cuts can become infected, which will cause even greater inflammation and pain.

If you suspect that you may be suffering from an infection on your nose, it’s best to see a doctor. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, you will probably be prescribed a medicated cream or wash, as well as an antibiotic. In those cases where the infection has progressed into an abscess, you may require further treatment to have it drained.

One last common reason for a swollen nose tip is a condition called rhinophyma. While the exact cause of rhinophyma is not known, it’s generally believed that it’s a side effect of rosacea– a skin disease that causes extreme redness or flushing, bumps, burning and swelling. The best way to treat rhinophyma is to take care of it before it gets out hand. This means seeing a doctor if you think you suffer from rosacea and religiously using any medications. For severe cases of rhinophyma, surgery is the only alternative.

Swelling at the Bridge of the Nose

While pimples may cause swelling at the bridge of the nose, the more common reason for this condition is trauma. Even relatively minor injuries, such as a smack in the face from a playful child, can cause swelling. However, the more serious cases of swelling come from greater injuries, such as fractures or broken bones.

When a bone in the nose is broke, you can expect rapid and extreme swelling. This swelling can even extend outward to your cheeks and eyes, making it difficult to see and breathe. If you suspect that you are suffering from an injury like this, your best course of action is to immediately see a doctor or go to the emergency room. Massive swelling can easily block your breathing passages, resulting in a life-threatening situation.

How to tell if a nose is broken:

The best way to deal with a broken or potentially broken nose is with ice. Wrap the ice in a towel to avoid direct skin contact, and gently place it at the bridge of the nose. The area will most likely be very tender so don’t apply pressure. You may notice that your nose appears crooked. If this is the case, it is okay. Your doctor will evaluate the situation and advise you on what needs to happen next.

The most common treatment for a broken nose is realignment. From there on, your body takes care of the rest. In more serious cases, surgery and splinting may become necessary. You can expect the bridge of your nose — and even your whole face — to be swollen for some time after your injury.

broken nose
broken nose



As you can see, there are numerous reasons why you may have a swollen nose. While some are minor conditions that will go away on their own, others may require medical attention.

As swelling is generally your body’s response to a trigger, ice is usually a safe way to help control some of the discomforts that may arise. Determining the cause of your swollen nose is usually accomplished by taking stock of your other symptoms.

In many cases, you can resolve nose swelling at home with over-the-counter products such as sinus relief medicines, though more serious situations may require a trip to the doctor or emergency room.

About the author 

Mr David

Thomas David is a Nutritionist, Registered Dietitian (RD), Health and fitness writer and editor based in Boca Raton, Florida. Thomas is also an international member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US.

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